Winter Park kicks off holiday season with annual Christmas parade

News 6 morning crew emcee event

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The holiday season is officially underway in Winter Park, as the city hosted its 66th annual "Ye Olde Hometown" Christmas parade Saturday morning.

The sounds of sirens from Winter Park police kicked off the parade. It is a tradition for many families.

"Over the years we've figured out what side of the street to be on, where's the best place closest to the grandstand, and it makes for a great parade experience for our kids," paradegoer Jennifer Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said they got their spot at 6:30 a.m. She said she has been coming out to the parade with her family for 10 years.

Gonzalez joined huge crowds lined up and down Park Avenue. Everyone said they are excited to see their favorite part of the parade. 

"I like the floats best," paradegoer Natalie Gonzalez said.

"I like the candy canes because they get me ready for Santa," paradegoer Hailey Michael said.

[READ: Ultimate holiday event guide: Parades, Christmas tree lighting, concerts, more]

Marching bands filled downtown Winter Park with music as more than 80 local organizations, leaders and law enforcement participated in the parade.

News 6 morning meteorologist Troy Bridges and Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steven Monterio emceed the event.

"We are ready to kick it off," Bridges said.

"Everyone's got their antler ears on, their Santa hats. December is here and Christmas is here and we're ready to kick it off here at Winter Park," Monterio said.

Everyone is feeling festive and in the Christmas spirit, adding they are ready for the holidays here in Central Florida.

"It makes us feel like Christmas is around the corner, even if it's 80 degrees outside," Jennifer Gonzalez said. 

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